Out in the Midday Sun: Running Ostrich and Ngong Hills


This week over at Paula’s  Thursday’s Special she is inviting us to break rules with our photo taking. This shot of a camera-shy, and thus fleeing male ostrich was taken in Nairobi National Park. I expect when I started to focus on him, he was facing the other way; after all, who wants a snap of an ostrich bum. (I should say that ostriches, so G tells me, are the only birds with external genitalia, and believe me they are surprisingly impressive when glimpsed, though thankfully not visible here).

Also one of the main rules of photography in Africa, particularly when  you are close to the Equator, was simply not to bother trying during the middle of the day. All colour tends to leach away; there may be a heat haze and also dust in the air; and the landscape maddeningly flattens out and stops looking magnificent.

But that is all very well. What else can you do when you find yourself in a Kenyan game park is in the middle of the day. It’s the kind of thing mad dogs and English persons do. Photos had to be taken, and of course later discarded.

The thing I like about this photo, being hooked on Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa, and the ‘I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills’ line, was that while I was concentrating on the ostrich, I inadvertently captured the Ngong Hills in distant blue profile. Though largely static, earth tremors apart, they were also hard to photograph. Here, though, I caught them, and you can well appreciate how they got their name, derived from a Maasai word meaning  fist. See those four clenched knuckles.

Otherwise, nothing much is in focus here except perhaps for big bird’s blousy white feathers. All sense of movement is truncated, ‘frozen’ in time under the fierce tropic sun. I still like the photo though.


copyright 2015 Tish Farrell